Ever watched a person, you once respected for their seemingly strong walk with God, fall away from God right before your eyes?
I recommend a short prayer to you…
Father, in the name of Jesus, help me to mature in Jesus.
In today’s post, I would like to exhort you as a fellow believer by recommending that you take some time, look into your heart and determine whether or not you’re in the faith. If this suggestion seems odd to you, I kindly refer you to II Corinthians 13:5, I Peter 5:8, Titus 1:13
The opening question is a really tough one to write about. Primarily because watching a brother or sister turn their back on God causes pain in my heart and should cause pain in your heart as well. However, we are admonished by scripture, over and over again, to be alert, prayerful and vigilant in these times because a great falling away has been confirmed by the truth of scripture. II Thessalonians 2:3, I Peter 5:8
Every believer should seriously consider her or his place in the Body of Christ. It’s clear in scripture that we should judge ourselves, so that when we finally meet Jesus we will not be judged by Him (I Corinthians 11:31). In simpler terms, while using the mirror of the Word of God, we should allow the Holy Spirit of God to show us areas in our lives were we need to mature in Christ. However, since we’re quite kind, forgiving and gracious whenever we evaluate ourselves, God was smart enough to remove all ambiguity by leaving us the eternal Word of God, to determine where to look as we evaluate whether we’re in the faith or not.
Please read this passage of scripture carefully. In order to evaluate whether we’re in the faith and our level of maturity, we must use the Word of God as the measuring stick. Not our emotions, not what we think nor what other people think about us. We must choose to be honest with ourselves, using the Word of God and the leaders God has placed over us to make the right assessment.
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Hebrews 6:1-6 (NIV)
The passage of scripture above is one of many passages that reveals the mind of God concerning our spiritual maturity. We see from this passage that there are elementary teachings about Christ that serve as the sure foundation for every believer. A faulty foundation is the main reason people fall away from God, after faithfully serving God year after year after year. Let’s take a closer look at these powerful truths that help us determine whether we have a sound, sturdy and sure foundation in the faith.
Ask yourself, do you have a clear understanding of the following foundational truths concerning the Kingdom of God, your walk with Christ and your place in the Body of Christ?
- Repentance from acts that lead to death
- Faith in God
- Instruction About Baptisms
- Laying on of Hands
- Resurrection of the Dead
- Eternal Judgement
Remember my encouragement to be honest with yourself. My intention is not to be your judge, but to share the means by which God evaluates our growth in Christ.
Instead of writing an exhaustive explanation of each foundational element, I’ll simply provide scripture references that hopefully will provide a starting point for you to understand these elements in greater detail. I recommend yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit as you seek to understand each of these elements.
Before we list the scripture references, I would like to draw your attention to a few things.
- It’s clear that God’s absolute best is for us to grow in our walk with God, without laying the foundation over and over again. This passage clearly states that the foundational teachings of Christ are necessary for spiritual growth, but we are not encouraged to stay at this level. We’re encouraged to grow past this level to higher levels of maturity.
- As we learn these foundational truths, we grow in Christ, laying a firm foundation for the future.
- God is the one that determines how fast we grow, not us. This is important because normally, with this type of encouragement, we usually hit the ground running, but with unrealistic expectations. Brother and sister in Christ, I’m using this scripture reference to encourage you to seek after God passionately. However, please understand that we’re all subject to God’s purposes and His timing. I Corinthians 3:7
- Finally the passage makes it clear that once the foundation has been properly laid in us and we walk away from Jesus, it’s impossible for that person to return to a state of true repentance.
In light of all that we’ve read, what should we do next? Well, since we know we should obey the Word of God, we must start with prayer and reading the Word of God. Please don’t try doing it all at one time, take it step by step. I’ve never known God to be in a rush.
As God sees your hunger and thirst to learn these foundational elements, the Word of God promises that God will meet you right there and satisfy your hunger and thirst.
- Repentance from acts that lead to death – Ephesians 2:8-10, Matthew 11:28, John 10:10 – There are a set of works we can get drawn into that will lead to death in one or more areas in our lives. Since the context of the passage is spiritual maturity, these works can not only cause spiritual arrested development, but also bring about death. Many of us , if we’re really honest, believe our busyness causes God to favor or love us more. This simply is not true. We are called to do good works that were prepared in advance, but not to the point were we experience death in any area. Jesus did not mince His words when he said He came that we might have life and that more abundantly!
- Faith in God – Mark 11:22, Mark 5:36, Mark 9:23 – Simply put, practice believing what the Word of God says.
- Instruction About Baptisms – There are many baptisms represented in the New Testament.
- Baptism into the Body of Christ Galatians 3:27
- Water Baptism Matthew3:11
- Baptism of the Holy Spirit Mark 1:8, Acts 1:5
- Baptism of Suffering Matthew 20:22-23, Mark 10:38-39
- Laying on of Hands – Matthew 9:18, Mark 16:18, Acts 8:18 – Praying for people, Anointing people for ministry, Healing the sick, Awakening spiritual gifts in people
- Resurrection of the Dead – Matthew 22:23-33, Luke 14:14, John 11:24-25, I Thessalonians 4:16 – Every person that has died will be resurrected. Anyone that teaches that there is not a future resurrection or that the resurrection has already happened, is not taking into account the teachings of Jesus in the passages I included.
- Eternal Judgement –Mark 3:29, Jude 1:7, Matthew 5:22 & 5:29, Matthew 10:28 & 11:23 – The place of eternal judgement, Hell, is a real and literal place.
Once again, the verses above are intended to serve as a starting point for understanding the elementary elements for laying a sure foundation for your spiritual growth in Christ. I encourage you to invest in your spiritual growth by taking time to allow the Holy Spirit to embed these truths deep into your heart.
I recommend a short prayer to you…
Father, I know as a loving Father you desire for me to grow spiritually in Christ without defects that will cause me problems in the future. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask that you help me grow as I learn these foundational truths.